The northern regions of Syria were not to be home to a large proportion of the agricultural produce of the country, however, a lack of rain has impeded the agricultural sector there.
In Syria’s agricultural north-east, the country’s persistent drought has affected the growth of wheat, barley and legumes this year.
Syria’s agricultural growth is reliant on the heavy rains that typically fall between December and February. However, a lack of rain this year has forced farmers to cultivate their land once again to prepare to grow other crops, such as cumin, lentils and chickpeas.
As a consequence of the drought, Syria’s north-east is no longer a key food source for Syria, which has been increasingly reliant on foreign aid deliveries throughout the country’s seven year conflict.
Syria’s farmers have struggled financially as a result, with many finding it difficult to make ends meet without taking a salary. An increasing number of farmers are leaving their land to seek employment elsewhere, such as in the city of Hasakah, which will have long-standing repercussions throughout the country.
The drought, which has been ongoing since 2006 and has been estimated by scientists to be the region’s worst in 500 years, has caused chronic instability, poverty and unemployment in Syria’s countryside.
In the years preceding the outbreak of the Syrian Conflict in 2011, the drought triggered a mass migration of farming communities in the north-east of the country, which was the worst affected by the drought, who moved to the country’s major economic cities of Aleppo, Homs and Damascus.
The increase in the urban population of Syria’s cities meant that the already strained public services and economic opportunities, particularly for young people, were stretched even further to accommodate the migrating rural population.
Although the country’s rural migration was not the sole cause of the revolution and subsequent war, which began in the southern city of Daraa in March 2011, a city that was largely unaffected by the mass rural migration, it was certainly a contributing factor to the rise in discontent with the Syrian Government at the time.